Three Women in Academia Awarded Juniper Literary Prizes

The University of Massachusetts Press and the master of fine arts degree program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have announced the 2021 winners of the Juniper Literary Prizes. The winners of the Juniper Prizes receive a cash award and will have their works published by the press in 2022.

The Juniper Literary Prize Series takes its name from Fort Juniper, the house that the poet Robert Francis (1901–1987) built by hand in the woods in western Massachusetts. The prize for poetry was established in 1975. The Juniper Prize for Fiction was first given out in 2004 to honor outstanding novels and short story collections. In 2019, the first Juniper Prize for Creative Nonfiction was awarded.

This year, three of the prize winners are women with current academic affiliations.

Wendy Barnes has been awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry (first book) for her collection Landscape with Bloodfeud. Barnes is an associate professor of English at Union County College in New Jersey. She holds a master of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts and a doctor of letters degree from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

Stacy Gnall has been selected as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection, Dogged. She is the author of Heart First Into the Forest (Alice James Books, 2011). Dr. Gnall teaches in the core humanities program at the University of Nevada, Reno. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, Dr. Gnall earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Southern California.

Leigh Ann Ruggiero’s debut novel, Unfollowers, has been chosen as the winner of the Juniper Prize for Fiction. She teaches literature, writing, and film at Great Falls College in Montana. Ruggiero earned a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Maryland.

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